Baptisia, also known as false indigo and wild indigo, is a beautiful perennial in leaf and flower. After going to seed, false indigo was originally planted to produce blue dye for early American colonists. Clump-forming plants grow two to four feet in height. The blue-green, compound leaves on stout stems look fresh all summer, and the showy pealike yellow, white, or blue pealike flowers are followed by ornamental black pods.
How to grow: Baptisia takes a few years to get well established, but it is easy to grow. It needs well-drained soil in full sun but will accept some partial shade. White baptisia needs more shade than blue baptisia. A member of the legume family, baptisia will do well in poor soil. The root systems of older plants become so extensive that they are difficult to move.
Propagation: By division or from seed.
Uses: One baptisia plant will in time cover an area several feet in diameter with gracefully arching foliage. These plants are excellent in borders, meadow gardens, and along the edge of woodlands.
Scientific name: Baptisia australis